Friday, June 24, 2011

Modern Day Korach

I saw a great quote (on a magnet!) about Shabbat. It read: Shabbos (Shabbat) is a day ON; not a day OFF.

So, Parashat Korach.
I think many people read this Parasha and wonder "what was Korach thinking? Didn't he clearly see that Moshe was the chosen prophet? That G-d's Word was so clear? How could he have had the chutzpah to rebel and so clearly trangress?"
It seems perplexing at first, but if one really delves into the psychology, it's very understandable. When a person thinks he's right, he'll find a way to
rationalize his actions. Not only rationalize them, but he'll even claim (and find proof!) for why it's a MITZVAH to act in the manner that he's acting.

Korach was so certain that he was right and holy. In fact, he made sure that all 250 men were "holy" according to his standards. He rejected On ben Pelet because his wife uncovered her hair! Chas v'shalom that he would have a man in his "holy group" whose wife was NOT MODEST!

He was blinded by his own ego and perceptions. And that is exactly what led to his scary punishment -- being swallowed by the earth!

From this incident, we learn how terrible Machloket (strife) can be. It can lead to a person's complete demise. Strife destroys a person; it blurs his vision. It dehumanizes him.
Peace, on the other hand, is integral. We continuously pray for peace (in Birkat Kohanim, in the Amida, in Birkat Hamazon, etc.) A person MUST have peace in order to thrive and be happy.

How much effort does one need to make to pursue peace?
Should one ever give up and say "I can't make Shalom with this person! I'm never going to have peace with him!"??
What if the person is "beneath" him? Be it religiously, socially, financially, etc.? What if the other person is his own STUDENT? What if the other person is clearly the one who WRONGED him?

Let's see what Moshe Rabbeinu did in this week's Parasha...
Korach rebels against Moshe. He blatantly goes against Moshe and HaShem's commandments. Korach was so sure that he was right and that Moshe was wrong.
And guess what?
Moshe Rabbeinu, the holiest Navi, the Gadol of that time, the chief Rabbi, the only person to speak with G-d "panim el panim" went to pursue peace with Datan v'Aviram (who were part of Korach's group.)
If Moshe was willing to seek peace with his fellow Jews, how much more so should we be willing to seek peace with anyone and everyone.
If someone wronged you, you should ALWAYS be the one to rekindle the friendship. You should ALWAYS be the one to forgive.
Never let pride get in the way.

Aharon HaCohen was "ohev shalom v'rodef shalom" -- he loved peace AND pursued it.
Chazal teach us an amazing story about Aharon HaCohen. He heard about a husband and wife who were fighting. The husband told his wife "I will never forgive you unless you spit in the eye of the Cohen HaGadol!" (he probably didn't intend the for the literal meaning. That phrase was probably used as an expression of "I'm never going to forgive you" -- kind of like how we say "the day when pigs fly...) Aharon heard about this and went up the wife and told her "I have a rare eye condition, and I need somebody to spit in my eye to cure it. Can you please do so?"
If Aharon, the COHEN HAGADOL, one of the holiest men, a prophet, Moshe Rabbenu's brother, was willing to "give up" his honor just to restore peace and respect between two fellow Jews, how much more so should we be willing to humble ourselves? To sacrafice our honor? Our egos? Our prejudices? Our pride?
It's a lot easier said than done. But B"H we learn from our great role models that it is possible and attainable.

May we always emulate the ways of Moshe and Aharon and never the ways of Korach v'adato!
Shabbat Shalom u'Mevorach :)


  1. Woah! WOAH! WOAHHHHH!!

    This is JUST what I needed to hear right now! I cannot thank you enough for the chizuk!!

    It's so true - it's very hard to be the one to give in, especially when you feel the other side is the one who owes you an apology, who should never be acting that way in the first place...but when you take the first step, you are going to be rewarded for the difficulty and for the courage you had for bringing peace into this world!!

    Woah, I'm amazed by the hashgacha of this post at the perfect timing!!

  2. Devorah - yay! Someone (other than myself) is actually getting chizzuk from my posts! :)
    B"H I hope you always feel and know the hashgacha in your life!

    It's very difficult to give in. I especially have this issue because I LOVE to be right. (As I jokingly often tell my friends 'I'm always right except when I'm not')
    It's something to keep in mind and work on!

  3. I must say, it's always easy to say...this is something that takes a lot of work, especially when someone elses feelings are involved. It's not so simple. You have to work with them too...and when the other side is stubborn or hurtful, well, then what?!

    It's a chance to work on my middos, that's for sure!